What power tool brand does your team use?

DISCLAIMER: This is not for any kind of market research or practical industrial use, purely out of genuine curiosity and interest
As a mentor in Wisconsin, I feel like my view of what tool brands are the best/most used is super skewed due to the proximity of a bunch of tool companies. What power tool brands does your team use, and maybe why did you go with them? My initial guess would be whatever brand happened to be in your team color, or that they sponsored the tools, but I would love to hear from others

What power tool brands does your team use?
  • DeWalt
  • Milwaukee
  • Makita
  • Bosch
  • Kobalt
  • Craftsman
  • Rigid
  • Ryobi
  • Black+Decker
  • Hilti
  • Hart
  • Metabo/Hitachi
  • Skil
  • Hercules
  • Other

0 voters

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Ryobi for most of it. We like the variety of offerings and the price point. It has served us well for many years. We have the fan, flashlights, floodlight, hot glue gun, angle grinder, and more. We do have a Makita drill that we like for tapping, since it has a nicer chuck and good balance. For pulling rivets, the Milwaukee M12 is great. I don’t think any other brand has a rivet puller.


We’re all over the place. Will try to summarize, but not being in the shop with COVID, my memory is a little fuzzy.

We’re currently in the DeWalt ecosystem of battery-powered tools (drills and impact drivers) because we had some former mentors that worked for DeWalt and were able to get us some great discounted units. We’ve generally bought Ryobi corded drills for “general use” and have a few heavier-duty drills from other brands for when we really need more power, and I have no idea where they came from or why we have so many - I think we have a DeWalt, Rigid, Milwaukee, and maybe a Bosch. The DeWalt and Milwaukee might be hammer drills. We recently have started replacing the original set of DeWalt battery tools, and decided to stick with DeWalt. We still had to “start from scratch” with batteries and chargers, since the old batteries had become obsolete, but we didn’t see any reason to change because the tools are generally at the right price point for us and are easily available.

I think most of our other tools were accumulated or donated as one-offs and I really don’t know the origin of them because we’ve had them for longer than I’ve been with the team. Pretty sure we have a DeWalt miter saw, Rigid cutoff saw, Milwaukee portable bandsaw, DeWalt corded reciprocating saw, DeWalt corded jigsaw, and an ancient Craftsman corded circular saw. The school has two DeWalt chop/miter saws that we also use.

The only power tool we’ve purchased recently that wasn’t battery-operated or a corded drill is a Wen drill press, which we have been very happy with so far. We chose it based on it being the right size for our needs, price point, and reviews, and that’s how we generally approach buying other equipment (hand tools, etc). We’re not married to any brand besides the DeWalt battery-operated.

We’re the same as @sanddrag :
Ryobi because price (Home Depot even comped some for us)
Milwaukee (M12) because of the sweet sweet rivet gun.


Also, when discussing tool brand “reputation”, keep in mind that most all these different “companies” are just branding creations from just three or four global manufacturers.


Milwaukee. Milwaukee. Milwaukee.

And a close 4th… you guessed it: Milwaukee.


We are an all Bosch team (sponsorship) with some random Ryobi and DeWalt tools that we loan out to other parts of the school that need them.

DeWalt, it’s yellow.


we standardized on the Dewalt Max Batteries and chargers.

but that Milwaukee cordless rivet gun somehow found its way to the shop last summer…


Dewalt, because @hrench donated a set to the team (impact, drill, grinder, recip). We had previously used 18v Dewalts before that.

We typically use off-brand rotary tools because too many Dremels were burned out by improper usage. We don’t use circular saws in shop for safety reasons. We don’t have a power rivetter. We have a corded jigsaw that could be B&D. We have a RIGID scroll saw that gets a good amount of use. We have a Craftsman 10" table saw with an aluminum Oshlun blade. And a Craftsman 6" belt sander and a grinder. A couple HF horizontal band saws. A Clausing Manual Mill, a Sherline mini-mill, a JET lathe, and heavy vert band saw (old school one).

A third team for Ryobi with battery powered tools, for a few reasons:

  • Cost, they are one of the best “economy” power tools you can get. There’s a drop off in usability and quality going cheaper with something like Black & Decker or Harbor Freight battery tools.
  • Our school district only allowed POs with Home Depot for stores selling tools when we started buying more power tools, so we had to pick a brand there. (Ironically they switched to Lowes later, so a lot of the tools since have been Black Friday sale specials I have personally bought for the team).
  • Color scheme works well with our team colors.
  • Lots of tool variety standardized to one battery connector type. Not really worried about Ryobi changing their battery setup and leaving our tools obsolete.

We don’t use Ryobi for new bench tools, though we do have an older design 9" bandsaw from them that’s been running well for around a decade. We opted to go with Wen for getting a cheap bench belt sander and drill press and have been happy with those. For the price range they seemed to offer tools with a little better build quality and features than Ryobi or others (sturdier work tables, slightly less plastic parts, etc.). Used older but well built tools or Harbor Freight are also good options in that area but we couldn’t go that route when purchasing through a grant.

Table saw: Rigid
Band saw: Craftsman
Cold saw for aluminum: Milwaukee
I can’t say for sure what cordless drills we use but I think they’re Bosch. Might be Milwaukee.

A mentor has a Dewalt set that gets frequent use when he brings it in.

We’re sponsored by Bosch since 2007 (yes!) so most of our power tools are from them.
We have some (mostly wired) stuff by SKIL, Dremel, Evolution, and more.

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330 was Ryobi since at least the mid 2000s up until the end. As much as I don’t really care about battery compatibility, it was nice to be able to pull out the 3 speed drills when a lot was happening at once, or we were doing something sketch that could smoke them. Those old drills were blue and yellow… you might be on to something.

A single m12 right angle showed up around 2014 ish and survived to the end as well. There was a somewhat bizzare event we attended and the set was “presented to the team” by an organization. Last I heard the story absolutely nobody was sure what was happening.

I’m still an evangelist for the merits of Harbor Freight in the right context.

I also write software for a living, so take my advice with a grain of salt.


Yup - figuring out which tools are worth being upgraded :smiley:


Now I am curious. Those who chose Ryobi, do you stick with the pre-Lithium for color?

Did you choose Lithium for color and eschew the older stuff?

We use Ryobi for price, flexibility, and the fact that many mentors (me included) have other pieces of the ecosystem they lend. The colors do not fit our team colors, so we use both new and old alike.

Originally we inherited some Makita 12V tools and kept with that system. In the summer of 2020, we purchased a brand new set of Milwaukee M12 tools because of the rivet gun and the brushless fuel drills, including a full 1/2" chuck on a 12v tool. We also run DeWalt FlexVolt stuff for the track saw, portable compressor, and vacuum.

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1293 is almost entirely a Milwaukee M18 team. We had an ancient Porter Cable fleet that was just at end of life, and after surveying what was out there we settled on that ecosystem around the time of a big DonorsChoose match. We’re weighing adding M12 tools to our ecosystem too, particularly a drill or two for the small-handed and maybe their riveter as well. I think we’ll see how the budget shakes out.

4901 was a Bosch team, which is unsurprising since they were…well, a Bosch team.

At home, I’ve bought into the Black & Decker Matrix system which lets you pop off the drill portion and swap on other accessories. I borrowed one (and the jigsaw attachment) from my mom last summer to build my Fight Night robot, and I was impressed with the capability. It makes sense for us to have the dedicated tools in the shop with so many kids working, but for someone working at home it’s serious bang for the buck.

I’ve long evangelized Harbor Freight for their cheap drills. And for any odd tool you aren’t sure you’re going to use a lot–if you wear out the HF one, yes it’s time to buy the nicer one. But if you never do, you clearly didn’t need to spend the money.


About half my personal tools are HF currently (as is my toolbox, and you just about can’t go wrong with their toolboxes). The other half are a mix of Craftsman and Home Depot (various brands). And that’s my strategy: break a tool and replace with better. For some reason my Ryobi drill bit index is changing colors to better and coated bits from McMaster…

But none of those are power tools. Yet.